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  • Alexandra Inman, RD

What to Eat After the Vancouver Sun Run (and your training runs too!)

Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or a casual jogger, what you eat after a run is crucial for recovery and performance. Post-running nutrition plays a vital role in replenishing depleted energy stores, repairing muscle damage, and supporting overall well-being. In this blog post, we will focus on what to eat after your run in order to maximize recovery, aid in muscle repair, and help reduce inflammation.


After a run, your body undergoes several physiological changes that require proper nutrition to facilitate recovery:

  • Glycogen Depletion: During exercise, your body uses glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates, as a primary energy source. Post-run, glycogen stores are depleted and need to be replenished to support future activity.

  • Muscle Damage: Running, especially high-intensity or long-distance running, can cause micro tears in muscle fibres. Adequate nutrition is essential for repairing and rebuilding these muscles for your next run.

  • Fluid and Electrolyte Loss: Sweating leads to fluid and electrolyte losses, affecting hydration status and electrolyte balance. Rehydration and replenishment are crucial for optimal recovery.


Timing

The timing of your post-running nutrition is crucial to maximize its benefits. Aim to consume a balanced meal or snack within 30 minutes to 2 hours after your run, commonly referred to as the "glycogen window." During this period, your body is more efficient at replenishing glycogen stores and repairing muscle tissue.


Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for running, and replenishing glycogen (carbohydrate) stores after a run is essential. Aim for a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack that includes grains (bread, rice, oats and pasta), fruit, and/or starchy vegetables (potato, corn, and sweet potato).


picture of a variety of grains in burlap sacks


Protein

Protein is crucial for muscle repair and growth after a run. I, including protein in your post-run meal helps speed up recovery and reduces muscle soreness. Examples of protein-rich foods include: meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products (especiallye.g. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese), soy products (e.g. tofu, tempeh, edamame), and legumes (e.g. beans, peas, lentils). Protein powders can also be a quick and convenient way to add protein into your post-run meal or snack.


picture of chicken on a skewer and some edamame beans


Fluid

Focusing on fluidsDrinking lots of fluids after your run will help you rehydrate and replace sweat losses. For most Sun Run participants, plain water is the best choice for hydration; however coffee, tea, milk, milk alternatives, sports drinks, and other fluids also count towards your total fluid intake.


picture of a water filter jug and a glass of water in a kitchen


Additional Tips for Optimal Post-Running Nutrition

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to hunger and satiety cues. If you're hungry, eat a balanced meal, but avoid overeating.

  • Plan Ahead: Prepare your post-running meals and snacks in advance to ensure you have convenient and nutritious options readily available.

  • Experiment with Timing: Some runners may prefer a larger meal within the first hour, while others may prefer a smaller snack immediately after the run followed by a larger meal later.

  • Include Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies) , soy products (e.g. tofu, tempeh) and flaxseeds, can help reduce inflammation and promote recovery.

  • Consider Supplements: While whole foods should be the primary source of nutrients, some runners may benefit from supplements like protein powder or electrolyte tablets, especially if their dietary intake is insufficient. Book a consultation with a Registered Dietitian at Vancouver Dietitians to learn more about if supplements are right for you.

  • Plan Ahead: Prepare your post-running meals and snacks in advance to ensure you have convenient and nutritious options readily available.


Prioritize nourishing your body with foods that support your running goals. Enjoy training and trust your preparation when you approach the starting line of the Vancouver Sun Run. If you are looking for personalized nutrition support in preparation for the Vancouver Sun Run or any other upcoming athletic event, book a consult with one of the dietitians at Vancouver Dietitians. Best of luck and enjoy your run!


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